They say a pint just tastes better in an Irish pub – especially the brightly painted pubs in Galway. Considering the friendly atmosphere, craic (fun times), vibrant music and great conversation, we definitely agree. Located on Ireland’s west coast, the harbor city of Galway welcomes visitors from all over the world. It’s many attractions and charming scenery make holding a pint in a lovely bar the cherry on top to a wonderful trip. Here’s a list of our favorite pubs in Galway.
1. Tig Coili: a Traditional Irish Music "Must"
Found in Galway’s Latin Quarter, Tig Coili boasts to have some of the finest Traditional Irish Music in the region. Both local and visiting musicians make up this incredible pub music experience. Worried you might miss out on the fun? Tig Coili hosts 14 music sessions weekly all year round. It’s a place you may hear before you see, and the crowd at Tig Coili likes it that way. For the Traditional Irish music lover, this pub is as good as it gets.
2. Tigh Neachtain: Low-key craic with the Locals
Tigh Neachtain has everything you want in an Irish pub – history, music and drinks that go down just right. Its website boasts being Galway’s Favorite for over 120 years, and we can see why. Located in the heart of Galway, Tigh Neachtain was the former home of prominent animal rights activist Richard Martin. Since his time there in 1894, it has been a meeting place for both the diverse and the eclectic. Along with a lot of talented traditional Irish musicians, Tigh Neachtain also offers more than 130 different types of whiskey. For the low-key, cozy pub experience, look no further than Tigh Neachtain.
3. John Keogh’s – The Lock Keeper: A Foodie’s Favorite
Located on Upper Dominick Street, John Keogh’s – The Lock Keeper is a top pick for a lovely evening. With two bars and a private party room, this dark-wood, traditionally decorated Gastropub is warm and inviting. Be sure to bring your appetite for renowned Head Chef Pat McEllin’s menu. This pub puts high quality food first with an emphasis on all things local and fresh. McEllin and his staff pride themselves on preparing entrees in-house and from scratch.
4. The Kings Head: A Pub with a Great Story
To understand the origin of The Kings Head requires a bit of a history lesson. After the execution of the King of England Charles I in 1649, Cromwell’s army arrived in Ireland to take power. Led by Col. Peter Stubbers, the group infiltrated Galway which then surrendered in 1653. Galway's then mayor who also owned what is today The King's Head Pub, Thomas Lynch Fitz-Ambrose, fought against Stubbers. As a result, Cromwell removed Lynch Fitz-Ambrose from office, took his role as mayor and also seized The Kings Head Pub. It was later discovered that Stubbers was linked to the execution of Charles I. A letter hand written by King Charles II identifies Stubbers as ‘a Halberdier (an axeman), that assisted at that execrable murder of our Royal Father.’
From government officials resisting new power to executioners to everything in between - the name 'The Kings Head Pub' felt appropriate for the tavern.
Today, The Kings Head is a great place to hear live music, comedy and have a drink. Visitors can see a spoof re-enactment of the story behind The Kings Head Pub, which has also been featured on the BBC.
5. O’Connell’s: the Outdoors Man’s Haven
Originally a grocery store, O’Connell’s has been welcoming people for a pint since the 70s. With stained glass windows, ornate ceilings and solid wood seating it’s a pub decorated quite unlike any other. O’Connell’s is best known for its outdoor beer gardens and makes a great spot for a Summer BBQ. With a great location in the heart of Galway, live music and active rugby followings, O’Connell’s is a pub you’ll want to visit on a nice night for some craic.